• Source: Pipeline 78 (2008) p.56–57
  • Reviewer: Alan Taylor

    As noted Shadows historian Malcolm Campbell researched and wrote his indispensable series of books on the recordings and releases of The Shadows, he became increasingly intrigued by their American counterparts The Ventures. He had bought their LPs from the beginning and now sought to complete his collection on CD. In Pipeline 74 he made a track by track comparison of all the titles recorded by both groups and them turned his attention to the entire output of The Ventures’ prime decade, the 1960s. This fascinating and informative book is the result, neatly presented in the same format as his highly successful Pocket Guide To Shadow Music.

    There is a chapter for each year from 1960 through to 1969 and within each year there is a paragraph on every track released. They are taken album by album followed by non-LP tracks and then the more recent releases of material from that year. There are illustrations and several pages of introductory text for each album before Malcolm dissects them track by track. Malcolm comments on the source of the material and the merits or otherwise of The Ventures’ recording of it. These are Malcolm’s own views, but he did run drafts of his text past other aficionados and took many of their suggestions on board.

    It was this process that drew in a certain Mr D Burke, respected citizen of this parish, who brought his extensive knowledge of the group to the project. Dave’s journalistic passion allied to his lifelong affection for The Ventures and their music is currently evidenced by the ongoing Ventures In The Vaults series of CDs released by Ace Records. Research for that project has yielded much significant information which Dave shares with us in a summary at the end of each year’s chapter.

    At the end of the book there is a mini-gallery with ten further pages of illustrations followed by an invaluable index of titles which will point you to the original release of every Ventures track from the 60s.

    There is hardly a plethora of books available for the rock instumental fan so this is a most welcome addition and highly recommended for those with a general interest. For Ventures fans it is an absolutely essential buy.

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